The rate of violent crime in the United States is on the rise for the first time in nearly 20 years.
In a telephone survey, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found there was a 22 percent increase in assaults, including simple assaults defined as crimes involving a threat but no weapon, pushing up the overall rate for violent crime for the first time since 1993. The new data marks a stark contrast to 2010, when violent crime hit an all-time low.
According to the annual National Crime Victimization Survey, an estimated 5.8 million U.S. citizens ages 12 and older suffered a violent victimization. There was also an estimated 17.1 million property victimizations.
CNN reports that the number of victims of the more serious crime category increased among whites and Hispanics, and among young men, but not among young women.
In a statement, the bureau said, "While the percentage change in violent crime from 2010 to 2011 is relatively large, the actual difference between the rates for those years is below the average annual change in violent crime over the past two decades," adding, "The low rates make the percentage change large, but crime still remains at historically low levels."
Eugene O'Donnell, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, told the Huffington Post, "Any police chief in the country would be wise to be concerned. If you dig into these numbers, you can see the seeds of larger problems."